One Hour Photo

Originally published in August 2002 | Tribute | written by Bonnie Laufer

Tribute's Bonnie Laufer gets her third opportunity to talk to Robin Williams this year! This time around they discuss his raunchy stand up comedy act and his starring role in the thriller, One Hour Photo.

I have to tell you that I went to see your stand-up comedy show in Toronto last month and you were hilarious. I haven't laughed like that in a long time.
Well thanks. I love coming to Toronto.

Did you have fun?
Oh man, I performed at the Hummingbird Centre, which is a great theatre.

Plus you came right in the middle of our garbage strike.
Yeah, did it settle finally?

Yes, just about a week after you left.
It was amazing to see Canadians go New York. Get this crap out of here, eh! I'm piling up my crap here, eh and it's not going away, eh! You walk around and all you could see was the sweet Canada start to fade a little bit.

On to One Hour Photo. You were so good in this movie and I don't mind telling you that you creeped the heck out of me!
That's my job baby! My day job is to creep the crap out of you and my night job is to make you laugh! But, this was an interesting project and it was tough to do, but I had a great group of people to work with. From the director to all of the actors, we had an amazing crew of people who just hauled ass every day. For a movie that is called One Hour Photo, it was actually 18 Hour Photo; these people just didn't stop working. As it is with small movies, you've got to get into locations, shoot and get out because you've got people saying, "I have to open up now, it's my store! Move your bags, Mr. Actor, and get out." It's quick.

Where do you take YOUR pictures to get them developed?
I don't, I haven't done it in years. The last time I did was when I was working on Mork and Mindy, and then some of them appeared in a magazine right away. So I said, O.K., this is the last time this is going to happen. Digital is the way to go!!

What makes this film so creepy is that this guy is so real. Most of us take our photos in to get developed and we don't know what's happening with them after we leave.
Yes, and everyone thinks that it is just a machine and that no one sees them. The truth is they see them and all of your moments. Some people would say that at some labs if it's a really funny or weird photograph of you, they'll dupe it. So when you go to pick up your pictures you'll get all the copies, but they can easily run off an extra one and you'd never know.

Where did you have to go to become this guy, Sy Parrish?
Everyone has loneliness; everyone has a time where they weren't exactly comfortable. Being an only child, I could give you a good twelve years of my awkward times. It's an easy thing to extend that into an adult. Then you extend it to fixations and fascinations with other people's lives. Fantasizing about if I only had that, or I wish I were him--that kind of thing. Sy actually felt that it was O.K. to think that because that was his alternate life, those photographs were his life in his mind. He felt like he was actually a part of this one family whose pictures he had been developing for nine years. He just gets a little obsessive about it and goes overboard, to say the least.

In all of your years of fame, I am sure you must have had people obsessing about you, or worse even stalking you.
Oh yes, there have been some bizarre ones and it's really sad and frightening both. 'Cause you realize, wait a minute, what drove them to come all the way from Germany to wait outside a gate and say, 'My father said I have to come see you.' So I tell them to say hello to their father. But then they say, 'He's been dead for fifteen years.'

As I mentioned earlier, I thought that you were so amazing when I saw you doing your stand up comedy routine in Toronto.
It was weird to be in your city right in the middle of a garbage strike, in the summer. But you guys were still very Canadian with everything piled up nicely. It was like, "Oh, I've got my Hefty bag here, alright, eh!" But all of a sudden you started to see with the heat and the smell, some of you started to go a little ballistic. People were starting to get a little tense, like "F***-off, eh!"

I have to tell you that I can never look at you the same way again. Your show was so raunchy, all I could think of when I was watching you up there was, I am glad I didn't bring my mother!
(laughing very loud) Thank God you didn't bring your mother. That's very funny! You know, some people did bring their mothers who didn't know what was going on!

I commend you though; you did that entire two-hour show with barely taking a breath, moving seamlessly from one topic to the next. Do you ever get stage fright?
Oh yes. I got it big time when I had to do the show live for HBO in New York. I realized, yikes, this is going out there and people's mothers will be watching! (ha ha). It was amazing to think that this was going out live and here I am Mr. Potty Mouth, just going at it.

Well, congratulations with everything, and I hope that you get an Oscar nod for your performance in One Hour Photo because you deserve it!
Oh you're too kind. Thanks so much and it's been so great talking to you again! And, God Bless Toronto. I love you guys!!!

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